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Federal Cuts Put Squeeze On Criminal Justice Funding

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Cuts to federal funding continue to put the squeeze on Virginia's budget for Criminal Justice Services.
Luigi Caterino: http://www.flickr.com/photos/luigipics/401770711/
Cuts to federal funding continue to put the squeeze on Virginia's budget for Criminal Justice Services.

Virginia's law enforcement agencies may soon have to do more with less, following news that the federal government is significantly cutting funding to states for public safety.

The Commonwealth's Department of Criminal Justice Services Director, Garth Wheeler, says federal funds have been scaled back each year for a decade, so his agency is bracing for the next round. Its most flexible funding source was just reduced by 28 percent. Some juvenile delinquency prevention programs were eliminated or cut by up to 44 percent, and substance abuse treatment programs for jails were cut by 63 percent.

Agency services were continued by collaborating within localities. Wheeler says the Criminal Justice Services Board must now be more reserved in allocating funds, but Victims Services Programs usually get the funds they need.

"For years, we all know that victims of crime were somewhat ignored — their needs," says Wheeler. "And, so obviously, that's a priority not only for this governor, but for the Commonwealth and the federal government as well."

Wheeler says they've had to revamp how they do business and use technology to compensate for fewer personnel. But even then, they need training funds.

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